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MAJERUS, U. ARE CLOSE TO EXTENSION BUT SAY NEW PACT IS NO BIG DEAL

Last March the Deseret News reported that University of Utah athletic director Chris Hill was trying to rework the contract of his basketball coach, Rick Majerus, as a reward for the Utes' remarkable 30-4 season.

Nothing has changed, except that Hill says he and the coach are closer to actually signing a new contract."We've agreed to agree," says Hill. "It's no big deal. We're going to extend his contract and make a few more provisions, but the pact is about the same as it has been. We just want to make it harder for him to leave."

Among other things, the Utes will extend Majerus' contract through the 1996 season and give him a raise - "Any idiot knows we're going to give Rick Majerus a raise, so that's no big deal," said Hill. Hill said he never discusses the salaries of his coaches, but he did say a report that Majerus' original contract called for $225,000 annually is incorrect. "I don't know where that come from," he said.

The "new" contract, according to Hill, will include additional buy-out clauses that would make it more difficult for the coach to leave the Utes before the end of his contract.

The Utes, however, might eventually call a press conference when Majerus signs the extended contract. The maneuver, according to Hill, is largely the work of Majerus, who hopes that news of the deal will squash rumors that he will not remain long at the school, which could damage his recruiting efforts.